The EMR and EHR Pool Party

I was chatting with the VP of Marketing from GE at MGMA recently and he made a good analogy. He said that the current EHR environment feels like being at a pool party. Everyone’s in their swimsuits, but they’re waiting for someone else to jump in first.

I think we’ve all been at a pool party (same thing happens on the dance floor too) where we’re waiting for someone to start, but once someone does everyone else joins in. I agree that for many the market kind of feels that way. There’s very little doubt that the HITECH Act has increased interest in EMR and EHR software. The number of people looking at and considering EMR and EHR software has got to be at an all time high. However, so far we haven’t had enough people jump in (buy and implement an EHR) so that everyone else will follow.

I’m sure we could think up a lot of reasons why this is the case. I guess many of those standing on the sides are waiting to hear from others if “the water is too cold.” This analogy goes well with my belief that the early meaningful use and EHR users are going to have a strong effect for good or bad on the next wave of EHR adoption. If those that have jumped into the proverbial EHR waters enjoy the experience and find that it’s not “too cold,” then I’m sure that many others will jump in as well. If the first to jump in jump right out or look like they’re having a miserable time, then we can expect many of the others to stay on the sidelines.

I think it’s still a little bit too early to tell how the first meaningful use EHR adopters are doing and what their message to their colleagues will be. So far most of the meaningful EHR users were those who adopted EHR long before the HITECH Act. I’m waiting to hear from those who started adopting post-HITECH Act. Then, we’ll have a better idea of how EHR adoption will progress going forward.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • To continue the analogy … when those hanging around the pool see one so called expert jump in … only to find that their “floaties” don’t work … (i.e. don’t correctly report critical MU results).

    Watching to see how many other “floaties” fail taking their new owners to the bottom doesn’t help the market’s confidence in the process, the players, or the packages.

  • With 300+ vendors there are far too many different pools to consider jumping into. As certain pools become more popular hang outs and others close down due to lack of swimmers, more people will decide to jump in. To date, the government intervention has definitely not helped this weed out process.

  • Ha, Jon, nice analogy. The trouble with jumping into a pool at a party, of course, is that it usually turns out to be more trouble than it’s worth. You feel cold and wet long after you take the plunge, you miss out on the really good conversations, you suspect everyone else thinks you are foolish, and you might as well forget about being invited back. I think we physicians are already hearing similar gripes from our colleagues. To continue with your analogy, they are saying they would rather stay home, but since they feel an obligation to show up at the party, they won’t follow others who impulsively jump in and instead prefer to hang out at the bar. Perhaps they will go so far as sit in the hot tub. So, if I can stretch the analogy further, what the EMR party requires is a hot tub, not a pool. My colleagues want to relax and not swim laps. So, IMHO, the Health Book project can be the hot tub at the EMR party. Good post, Jon

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